February 24, 2022
"Putin’s War Was Never Actually About NATO" in Slate

Prof. Popova's and Oxana Shevel's piece "Putin's War Was Never Actually About NATO" was reprinted in Slate Magazine on February 24.

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February 17, 2022
"Putin Cannot Erase Ukraine" in Foreign Affairs

"Putin Cannot Erase Ukraine", written by Maria Popova and Oxana Shevel, was published in Foreign Affairs on February 1, 2022. Here's an excerpt: "Russian President Vladimir Putin has made no secret of how he regards Ukraine, the nation he is threatening to invade. At the 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania, Putin told U.S. President […]

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February 14, 2022
"Dangerous Diplomacy: Why Placating Putin Now Could Doom Ukrainian Democracy Later" in Journal of Democracy

"Dangerous Diplomacy: Why Placating Putin Now Could Doom Ukrainian Democracy Later", written by Oxana Shevel and Maria Popova, was published on February 14, 2022, in Journal of Democracy. Here's an excerpt: "All outward signs point to an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine. U.S intelligence has suggested that Russian president Vladimir Putin could order an attack […]

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December 12, 2021
Maria Popova interviewed on CBC's The National

Today, the G7 issued a stern warning to Russia that another military invasion of Ukraine would result in devastating consequences for Russia's economy. I commented on the situation on CBC's The National. You can see the segment here:

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November 25, 2021
Bulgaria's 3rd parliamentary elections for 2021

Bulgarians went to the polls three times in 2021 and the summary of the results goes something like this: 6-7 parties in each parliament 4 brand new parties (ITN, IBNI, We Continue the Change, Revival) 3 different election winners (GERB, ITN, We Continue the Change) 2 failed attempts at cabinet formation (GERB-Mitov, ITN-Nikolov) 1 giant […]

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August 16, 2021
Prof Popova takes part in Bergen Exchanges round table on autocratic legalism
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July 2, 2021
Ukraine's deoligarchization process and the fight for the rule of law

On July 1, I took part in an event co-organized by Chatham House and the Bertelsmann Foundation on Ukraine's crony capitalism. Instead of my usual role as a commentator on Ukrainian judicial reform, I brought in a comparative perspective from Romania and Bulgaria's anticorruption campaigns. I cited evidence of Romania's successful tackling of oligarchic political […]

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May 15, 2021
Chair's article wins a prize

Our 2020 article with Daniel Beers, “No Revolution of Dignity for Ukraine’s Judges” received the American Association of Ukrainian Studies Article Prize, awarded for the best article-length work in the field of Ukrainian history, politics, language, literature and culture published in English.

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April 14, 2021
The 2021 Bulgarian election: A ‘QAnon turn’ for Eastern European politics?

I wrote a blogpost, with Prof Nikolay Marinov from University of Houston, for LSE’s EUROPP Blog on the April 2021 Bulgarian parliamentary elections. This was the most unexpected and interesting election in 20 years—read our analysis here.

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February 20, 2021
Navalny's defamation prosecution

The Kremlin is transparent in its use of the courts as a PR tool. Alexei Navalny's latest indictment on charges of criminal libel accuses him of insulting a 96 year-old veteran of the Great Patriotic War. The message that this case seeks to communicate to the Russian public is that Navalny doesn't respect either old […]

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September 25, 2020
Short article on Ukrainian judicial reform

Maria Popova and Mykhailo Zhernakov from Ukraine's DEJURE Foundation published an assessment on judicial reforms under Poroshenko for the German policy outlet, Ukraine-Analysen. Thanks to Fabian Burkhardt for the invitation to share our analysis with a German audience!

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September 10, 2020
Eastern European governments tackling COVID

It’s been six months since the avalanche of Covid-spurred school closings, shelter-at-home, and lockdown orders. In March, no one would have predicted that Eastern European governments would be doing as well as they have at tackling the virus. But they have: A) All Eastern Europeans flattened the curve better than all Western Europeans.B) Populist and […]

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December 22, 2019
The criminal case against university student Yegor Zhukov

I recently gave an interview to the independent radio station Ekho Moskvy, on the recently concluded criminal case against university student, Yegor Zhukov. 21-year-old Zhukov attracted significant international attention with the closing statement he delivered at his trial on charges that he incited extremism online through his popular video blog. Specifically, I discussed how Russia’s […]

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November 9, 2019
My grandfather and the Communists

Today is the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. We think of 1989 as one of the most abrupt divides in history. We see the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe as unanticipated, lightening-swift and comprehensive. The images of Germans pushing down the Wall and spilling through the holes into the streets […]

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May 25, 2018
Prof Popova takes part in Ditchley Foundation event on the Future of the EU

The three-day conference brought together policy-makers and policy analysts from the EU and the UK to discuss the challenges of Brexit to European integration and to UK domestic politics and standing on the international scene. As the lone academic, as a Canadian and an Eastern European, I found myself offering the "outsider's" perspective time and […]

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April 13, 2018
German Ambassador to Canada, Hon. Sabine Sparwasser delivers a lecture in POLI 331: Politics of East Central Europe

Students in Prof Popova's class have been learning about the rise of populism and rule of law backsliding processes in the region, which undermine the process of Europeanization. What a treat it was for them to hear from none other than the Ambassador of a major EU member state, Germany, about how her country seeks […]

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About me

Maria Popova (PhD, Harvard 2006) conducts research on the rule of law, judicial reform, political corruption, populist parties and legal repression of dissent across the post-Communist region. She teaches classes on European politics and research methods.

Contact me

Jean Monnet Chair EUROL
McGill University
855 Sherbrooke St. W.
Montréal, Quebec
H3A 2T7
maria.popova [at]
Copyright © 2021 Elizabeth Chrun. All Rights Reserved.